Situation in Ukraine: Statement by Ghana in explanation of vote
Ghana voted in favour of the draft resolution on the situation in Ukraine because that is the minimum duty we owe to the Charter, the peoples of the world and in particular the government and people of Ukraine as a member of this Council. We joined the 10 other members of the Council in deploring in the strongest terms the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine because that act breaches Russia’s obligation as a Member of the United Nations; its obligation to respect the provisions of article 2, paragraph 4 of the Charter.
By not refraining from the use of force in its relations with Ukraine, the Russian Federation has chosen to violate, without justification, the sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine, even as several world leaders had appealed for dialogue, to find a peaceful settlement of the situation. The Russia Federation’s actions, which assailed the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations have threatened the global order and the balance of peace and security.
We have taken note of the Russian Federation’s letter presented to the Council that seeks to indicate that its use of force against Ukraine was in self-defence but dismiss it in the face of its all-out military action against Ukraine. We are pained by the unnecessary and rising number of deaths that have been occasioned by the invasion and call on the Russian Federation to immediately withdraw its forces from Ukraine and to recommit to dialogue and diplomacy.
Besides our own assessment that Ukraine presented no imminent threat to the Russian Federation, the letter is also interpreted within the context of Russia’s own public declarations over the course of the past days, which have shown to the world that rather than a security merit this has been about the use of force against its weaker neighbour because it could. To choose the path of war, however, necessarily diminishes one’s strength.
At the beginning of its military build-up on the borders of Ukraine, we were told that what was being observed was a normal military exercise. When concerns over the massive build-up were made, the Russian Federation informed the world that its troops were on its side of the borders and had no intention of crossing the frontiers of Ukraine. At a point we were also informed that troops were being considered to be sent to the Donbas region of Ukraine in the context of peacekeeping.
Today, the whole world knows better. As we met in an emergency session on Wednesday night to afford yet another opportunity for peace, the trust and good faith crucial for diplomatic engagement was broken in a cruel and dismissive manner. The battle against Kyiv may yet be won, but the good will of the world has been lost. The use of force as a basis for securing international agreements has no place in our modern international order and the world would not accept this.
Ghana is deeply disappointed by the actions of the Russian Federation, a Permanent Member of the Security Council. Its actions have fallen short of the higher standards expected of those States that are considered as the enduring guardians of international peace and security. Indeed, for those members of the Council with a special privilege, there is also special responsibility. I reiterate Ghana’s full support for the sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine, in accordance with the Charter. At a time that world looked up to this Council to send a strong message that threats and use of force against other States are unacceptable, we have been unable to do so. Not because there is no broad agreement to do so, but because the way and manner the Security Council has been structured to function has constrained us.
The present situation creates difficult choices which we all must consider and carefully reflect upon, as we proceed with the longstanding efforts to reform the United Nations Security Council and how it operates. Fortunately, the ongoing process in the General Assembly provides an opportunity, and all Member States must genuinely commit to that process. If we fail to act proactively, our inaction would cost us permanently. Before concluding, let me indicate Ghana’s continuing concern over the situation of the civilian populations in all parts of the internationally recognized borders of Ukraine as well as the welfare of more than 1,000 Ghanaian students and several nationals in that country.
We recall that in accordance with international humanitarian law there are consequences for unlawful actions against civilian populations. Also, as the Secretary-General rightly said in his press engagement on Wednesday night, the invasion of Ukraine by Russia would come at great cost to most of our countries. Already, oil prices have gone beyond US$100, inflation in most of our countries have begun to rise, investment decisions are being pulled back, the already difficult situation of economic stagnation, triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, is beginning to worsen.
The consequence of these adverse developments is that the fragility of most countries would deepen, and further risks created for global stability. The actions that have taken place against Ukraine are therefore far-reaching and require even greater solidarity, first with the people of Ukraine who bear the direct and immediate impact of this unjustified action that violates the Charter and the principles of international law; but also, for the many, especially developing countries, whose populations are facing severe austerity. May we find the wisdom and common purpose to overcome the difficult moment we face. Ours is a call for peace. Let’s give peace still yet, a chance.
I thank you.